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What Makes A Good Party?


Published 1950


Shows teenagers how to plan and attend a party, suggesting games to play and songs to sing ("Jimmy Crack Corn").


Run time 10:13
Producer Coronet Instructional Films
Sponsor N/A
Audio/Visual Sd, B&W

Shotlist

Shows how to plan a party. Illustrates the skills which enable the guests to have fun together.
Ken Smith sez: This film creates a world so innocent that it's embarrassing. Jean, Nora and Eileen are high school girls who want to throw a "coming out" party to introduce college boy "Steve" to the rest of the gang. But whoa, let's not be impulsive, the narrator cautions, for "a successful party needs planning and skill." Accordingly, every detail of the get-together is mapped out beforehand, from the refreshments (hot chocolate and sandwiches) to the "well-chosen games" (a hat-making contest and Charades). "Everyone's out to have fun and to help OTHERS have fun," the narrator emphasizes. This need to do everything collectively, to allow no room for individual interests, to "help keep the party fun for all," is shown when Nora attempts pull Steve aside for some conversation. Nuh-uh! Who knows where that behavior would lead! Jean drags the two rebels back into the group, and the gang soon has a grand time singing Jimmy Crack Corn around the piano. The narrator offers one last nugget of wisdom -- "Part of a good party is knowing when to go home" -- and the kids do just that.
The disapproval of anything impulsive or individual in this film shows a really warped sense of "democracy," and more closely resembles socialism, if you think about it. According to Ted Peshak, "This whole part of the north Chicago area has changed because of that film."

PARTIES PLANNING INVITATIONS TEENAGERS REFRESHMENTS FOOD ENTERTAINMENT GAMES HOSTESSES GUESTS
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Reviews

Reviewer: JayKay49 - - December 17, 2011
Subject: Throwin a Party? Get a Collie
You need to keep the guests in a cohesive pack - like sheep. The narrator insists.

I like these old educational films but this one pushes some very flimsy points. Its almost laughable - even for what it is. Not one of my favorites. I feel embarrassed for these kids.
Reviewer: lmm999 - - December 10, 2011
Subject: This is hysterical!
OMG...I'm like two minutes into this film and I'm already laughing my head off. Why are they sitting on the bed holding teddy bears, they're like 22 years old. Bwa ha ha ha!...off to watch the rest now!

Spontaneous unplanned fun = a rousing chorus of "Jimmy Crack Corn"
Glee ain't got nothin' on these guys!!!
Reviewer: bestpbx - - July 1, 2009
Subject: Steve... American Idol of 1957?????
WOW! When Steve (the guest of honor) plays the piano and then bursts into song... it is enough to make you weep. Yes, that is how bad it is... you will want to cry.
Nothing says teen fun like sitting around and singing old racist ballads.
Reviewer: doowopbob - - January 5, 2008
Subject: Oh, Prunella!
Why Is Mom's Vac.In The Hallway? Cause Steve Has Jean In The Closet Showing Her His Party Favor!....
Reviewer: ERD - - January 17, 2006
Subject: Wholesome 50's
This film is somewhat idealistic and extremely clean-cut, Mom is even there helping out. However 1950 was a more naive time-and this film would have been considered wholesome then. Middle class older teens generally did behave this way at get-togethers. The song they sang was made popular by Burl Ives at that time. I found the production well acted and directed.
Reviewer: Elrond - - October 7, 2005
Subject: huh?
I always get a kick out of these 40s/50s 'social guidance' films, usually for how cheesy and outdated they are. This one really hits home though... I'm a 19 year old college student, I'm not much of a partier but I'm not stupid, enough to know that there's something wrong with the image presented by this film. I know times were simpiler back then, and the booze, drugs, and sex associated with today's parties probally wouldn't have been present to the degree they are today, but this party reminded me of a children's birthday party: organized and regemented games, everyone stays with the group, sing-a-long (and don't even get me started on Jimmy Crack Corn), etc.... These kids are probably 16-19, not 5. I don't think teens were so different in the 1950s.
I have a staunch feeling this film may be more trying to reinforce a utopian view of socieity, rather than teach party planning skills (same goes for many of the other Instructional Film.)
Reviewer: Spuzz - - September 7, 2005
Subject: What a difference 40 years makes.
Jean phones her friends with the most amazing news. Her brother and his roommate from college are coming to town for a vixit! Jean and her friends think this calls for a celebration of the highest magnitude, so they put together a humdinger of a party. They plan it.. Invitations! Refreshments! (because, as Jean enthuses, ÃÂwe have to feed the MEN! And Jean also ends this conversation with this, ÃÂWell, we want something to eat and something to drink.. Refreshments!ÃÂ). and Entertainment is also discussed, ÃÂWe want to show Steve a good time, but we donÃÂt know what he really likes!ÃÂ one of the girls says, pawing her teddy bear. The girls all decide to play mixer games! Soon, the party is underway! They have hat designing contests, guessing games, rhythym games and charades! Now, again, these are COLLEGE students weÃÂre talking about here, not 6 year old kids. Soon the whole thing gets out of control when the narrator states that one of the guests has some spontaneous unplanned fun, and plays ÃÂJimmy Crack CornÃÂ on the piano! Oh! The kids of today! Such rebelness!!! (runs from room)


(Oh right this is a MUST SEE on this site!!)
Reviewer: Johnny Cold - - August 17, 2005
Subject: Very Funny
Does anybody here knows what kind of music is playing as background when the girl is receiving the call, in the beginning??
That kind of song is very used on Coronet Films and I would really like to know more about that.

Thanks in Advance
Reviewer: Karma Hawk - - April 5, 2005
Subject: Cornet films: Opressing teen partys since 1950's
This film was made to teach kids how too plan a party, however something that makes this film odd is the fact that the Cornet people really didn't know thier audience or made horible directorial decisions, it doesn't take long to see that this film describes how to plan a good "kids" party but not so much a good "teen" party. "Teen" partys usually don't involve party games, and arn't so opressive (At one point we're taught that we should make sure that guests stay with the group no matter what) Odd directorial decission makes this highly recomended.
Reviewer: depthfunction - - April 3, 2005
Subject: Oh. My. Gawd.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

I've watched a lot of goofy movies in this archive, but this one takes the cake. Please - somebody tell me that this isn't really what teen parties were like back in 1950, because that was the lamest thing I've EVER seen. But I guess this was before rock'n'roll - that explains a LOT.

And the "Jimmy Crack Corn" sing-along? SO very wrong on SO many levels.

I give it 5 stars because it had me ROFLMAO!
Reviewer: iljc116 - - October 18, 2004
Subject: Girls Gone Wild, '50s style?
Those crazy young hooligans, how dare they cause such a ruckus with their shenanigains! With their mixer games and their sandwiches and hot chocolate, and those crazy hit songs of theirs! "Jimmy Crack Corn", pfff...where do they think they are, Teen Town?
Reviewer: RedAliCat - - June 27, 2004
Subject: How To Land A Man!
This really should have been titled, "How To Land A Man: Perfection Is The Only Way." The "preparations" that the "girls" go through are down right businesslike--"Now, what is our purpose?" and "I'll go to the library and research party games." Heavens to betsy if something went wrong; Steve would HATE you then! The bit about keeping people from pairing off to talk seemed rather totalitarian. It seems like the only time you would get to know people personally is chatting with them exclusively for a few minutes. Though they probably were meant at face value, most of the phrases used in today's thought process give the movie a whole new meaning. Calling it a gay party, males were men and females were girls, saying they were "out to have fun," the witch gnawing at a suspended apple, and the much-repeated "show Steve a good time" makes for a good laugh. One wonders if some involved were aware of how it sounds. For a film so focused on a "good time," I really wonder if kids back then would have been satisfied with singing Jimmy Crack Corn.
Reviewer: Marysz - - March 28, 2004
Subject: Having Fun and Helping Others Have Fun
Another oppressive teen etiquette film, this time on how to give a party. JeanÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs brother is bringing a friend, Steve, home from college and she decides to give a party to welcome him to their ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂgang.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ Jean, Eileen and Nora (who is seen in at least three other Coronet films, ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂHow Do You Know ItÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs Love,ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂWriting Better Social LettersÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ and ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂHow to say No: Moral MaturityÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ) get together and draw up a ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂto doÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ list that consists of guests, invitations, refreshments and entertainment. The actual party is simple and innocent by todayÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs standards. The boys wear coats and ties and the guests play party games in a simply furnished bungalow living room. The usual overbearing narrator tells us that the job of a party is to ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂhave fun and help others have fun.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ America must have been a rowdy, ill-mannered place in the late forties and early fiftiesÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂotherwise why would so many of these heavy-handed films about manners been made? After a hat-making contest, a round of ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂrhythmÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ and a game of charades, itÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs time for refreshments, courtesy of Mom (Dad is nowhere to be seen; maybe heÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs out bowling). Mom must have seen ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂHow To Set a Buffet Table,ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ another etiquette film in the Archives, on how to serve food that the guests can serve themselves and ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂhelp the others, too.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ Watching these old films, IÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂm always struck by how much smaller food portions were. When the refreshments are finished, itÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂs time for the guests to go home. But not before an impromptu sing-a-long of ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂJimmy Crack Corn.ÃÂÃÂÃÂÃÂ Maybe this prefigures the folk-singing craze that took off later in the decade.
Reviewer: dynayellow - - September 2, 2003
Subject: When planning your party, failure is not an option!
You think you've seen Squaresville teens before? Well, mister, sit down and watch this little flick, with a group of young people so squeaky-clean they make Ivory soap look like an oil slick.

Unbelievably camp as three hot-to-trot girls plan a party for a boy from college. Directions from the cheery faced yet utterly dominant narrator tell you to make sure that you participate in the Hive Mind at parties. At one point, two people step to the side to talk to each other--a fatal mistake! Herd them back into the Group because it's time for a hat party!

And what kind of swingin' party doesn't end with a stirring rendition of Jimmy Crack Corn (complete with a faux-minstrel-show baritone singing about his "Massah?"). So amazingly innocent you just won't believe it.
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